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Horror storytelling is a compelling concept. In many cases, the more that we learn about a given universe, the less interesting or scary it becomes. That's something that director Brian Taylor recognized in the creation of his new film Mom and Dad, a movie following a group of kids trying to survive when their parents (Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair) mysteriously enter a murderous rage. In fact, CinemaBlend recently spoke to Blair about the decision to avoid explaining anything in the film, and she admitted that it's better not to think too deeply about the how or why of a story like this, saying:
I mean, this is like, we had to go the B-movie route and leave it that way and just let it stand on its own as "This is happening, and it's scary as hell." I said the same thing. My first call with the director was "I don't get it. Is like technology doing it?" I really wanted to know how I play this person that has turned into this zombie. Good mom to good murderer? He's like "It doesn't matter," and I'm like, "Oh. It doesn't. This is a movie." That's the whole point. We're not trying to do a documentary. It's one of those horrors out there in the world and who knows what's happening? It could be a virus. It could be a neurotoxin. It could just be that everyone breaks down at the same time. I have no idea, but yeah I let go of that.
Is it magic? Is it technology? Is it some sort of science that we do not understand yet? As it turns out, none of that actually matters. Mom and Dad centers merely on the horror that unfolds when all of the parents around the world decide to murder their children when exposed to a mysterious static. It's not concerned with where the static came from; it's just a catalyst to get the story going.
Moreover, there's also a case to be made that it seems more realistic for a movie like Mom and Dad to avoid delving into the mythology of the homicidal static that forces parents to go after their kids. The film focuses its story on a single family caught in the middle of the chaos, and it seems doubtful that an average family would be able to actually figure out the cause of such madness in such a short amount of time. At a lean 80-minute runtime, the film works better because it leans into the confusion.
That's not to say that there isn't DNA of other movies present in Mom and Dad's storyline. As pointed out by Selma Blair during our interview with her, the former Hellboy star made a specific point to mention the fact that the movie maintains several hallmarks of the B-movie genre. In that regard, we can definitely trace the influence of classic horror movies like The Crazies or Invasion of the Body Snatchers in its narrative, not to mention the late George A. Romero's entire Dead franchise.